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The First 2016 Candidate Is Jim Webb

By: Thursday November 20, 2014 10:03 am

In an unexpected move the first official Presidential candidate for 2016 is former Democratic Sen. Jim Webb from Virginia. He announced the launch of his exploratory committee in a letter on Webb2016. The letter begins:

I’d like to take a few minutes of your time to ask you to consider the most important question facing America today: Is it possible that our next President could actually lay out a vision for the country, and create an environment where leaders from both parties and from all philosophies would feel compelled to work together for the good of the country, despite all of the money and political pressure that now demands they disagree?

As one who spent four years in the Reagan Administration but who served in the Senate as a Democrat, I believe it is possible. It is also necessary. We desperately need to fix our country, and to reinforce the values that have sustained us, many of which have fallen by the wayside in the nasty debates of the last several years. I hope you will consider joining me in that effort.

It is hard to see exactly where or how Webb would really get traction versus Hillary Clinton, but as Senator one issue Webb was very good on was criminal justice/prison reform. If his campaign managed to raise the profile of this important issue, that would at least be a positive development for the country.


Louisiana Senate: Mary Landrieu Way Behind in New Poll

By: Wednesday November 19, 2014 4:17 pm

Republican Bill Cassidy is on track to easily defeat incumbent Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu.

The lone big outstanding election of 2014 is the Louisiana Senate race because of the state’s unique rules. The election which took place two weeks ago was technically an open primary and since no one got 50 percent of the vote, the general election takes place on December 6th.

A new survey from Vox Populi Polling shows Republican Bill Cassidy is on track to easily defeat incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu (D). The poll found Cassidy with 53 percent support, Landrieu with just 42 percent support and the remaining 5 percent unsure.

These unusual low turnout elections can be difficult to poll because it is tough to estimate the likely turnout, but these numbers are right in line with my personal expectations based on my previous examination of how the open primaries in Washington State predicted the general election results.

I suspect Cassidy’s share of the vote next month will be roughly equal to the entire share of the vote won by all the Republican candidates on the ballot two weeks ago and Landrieu’s share will similarly be equal to the total Democratic vote. That basic prediction puts Cassidy at 55.8 percent and Landrieu at 43.5 percent.

Democrats’ Brand Sinks to Record Low

By: Thursday November 13, 2014 9:27 am

The American public’s opinion of Obama is historically bad. According to Gallup, only 36 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the Democratic party, the lowest it has ever been in Gallup’s surveys and the first time in three years that the Republican party has scored higher on favorability. From Gallup:

Republican and Democratic Party Favorables, 1992-2014

Democrats don’t simply have a messaging problem, a voter outreach problem, or a turnout problem. They have governing problem.

I would recommend the first step is stop promising major constituencies big actions then letting them know you don’t value their support so are going to break your promises for misguided political reason.

What a Referendum on the President Looks Like

By: Wednesday November 12, 2014 10:19 am

Since we have a two party political system there are two basic ways for a party to win big in an election. The first way is to put forward a positive agenda that the public agrees with and comes out to actively support on election day. The other is to simply wait for their opponents [...]

The Elections Are All About the Letter Next to the Candidate’s Name

By: Friday November 7, 2014 12:13 pm

The big story of the 2014 election which isn’t getting enough attention is how nationalized our federal elections have become. The value of incumbency and individual candidates has been greatly diminished while the political party next to the candidate’s name carries much greater value. What really drives this point home is looking at the results [...]

Voters Really Like the Local Option

By: Thursday November 6, 2014 1:48 pm

Most states give local municipalities some way to either ban or allow alcohol sales. While the overwhelming majority of localities choose to allow alcohol sales, there are still a significant number of dry counties throughout the country. Tuesday’s election proved that this level of local control over alcohol remains really popular with the electorate. On [...]

While Democrats Did Terribly, Progressive Policies Did Very Well at the Ballot Box

By: Wednesday November 5, 2014 12:15 pm

Last night was very bad for Democrats on the ballot. Not only did they lose control of the Senate, but House Republicans now have their largest majority in decades. It was not though a bad election for progressive policies. Most of the progressive ballot initiatives on the ballot won. Ballot measures about increasing the minimum [...]

A Nationalized Election With a Clear Swing to the GOP

By: Wednesday November 5, 2014 9:57 am

Last night was very bad for Democrats and a very good one for Republicans. At this point Republicans have picked up seven seats in the Senate and it looks like they will pick up another two when everything is over. With most of the votes counted, the Republican candidate holds a narrow lead in Alaska. [...]

What to Watch for Tonight in the Federal Elections

By: Tuesday November 4, 2014 2:00 pm

Watching the returns of the federal election this evening is going to be very simple. There is almost no chance of the Republicans losing the House so the important fights are in the Senate. Among all the senate races this year, only about eight are reasonably close: Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, New Hampshire [...]

A Reminder That We Do a Terrible Job of Managing Our Democracy

By: Tuesday November 4, 2014 10:15 am

Among the numerous deficiencies our democracy has is the fact that the people who vote don’t actually represent the country as a whole. Pew Research shows just how big this divide is. Adults who likely won’t be voting this year tend to be much younger, poorer, ethnically diverse, and more liberal than the people who [...]

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